Thursday, August 21, 2014

Earth Overshoot Day arrives earlier as we consume too much for planet to replenish

The latest grim news about the Earth’s resources is that we are using them up faster and faster every year, and that is creating bigger and bigger economic inequalities between countries.
We hit what is known as Earth Overshoot Day even earlier this year – on 19 August
Global Footprint Network, the environmental think-tank that monitors mankind’s impact on the planet, working with the World Wide Fund for Nature, said we are running out of irreplaceable reserves.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Je donnerais ma vie

Claude Cahun, Je donnerais ma vie, August 1936.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Theater of the World

Every city is reimagined and rebuilt as a result of a spectacle. Whether it is to boost tourism, to complete political promises or to encourage nationalism, the architecture of a city is often ornamented to demonstrate progress. Ever since the representation of nations at the World Fair´s from the XIX century, to the post-war urban renovation projects, buildings raise as artificial monuments that later become obsolete even when they disguise the urban reality.
The Theater of the World looks into the work of different artists interested in architecture as a place for political and social representation. Although, more than revealing the failed utopias from the past, this exhibition reflects on the world as stage, where the monuments, palaces, ruins and social housing projects coexist and renovate under the same façade of nation and apparent development.

Artists : Alexánder Apostol,Yto Barrada, Marcelo Cidade, Nathan Coley, Livia Corona, José Dávila, Marjolijn Dijkman, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Angela Ferreira, Andreas Fogarasi, Meschac Gaba, Carlos Garaicoa, Terence Gower Pedro Reyes, Pablo Hare, Heidrun Holzfeind-Christoph Draeger, David Maljkovic, Olivia Plender, Anri Sala, Kostis Velonis

Curated by Andrea Torrenblanca.
Curatorial Assistant Ixel Rion. 
Museo Tamayo, Mexico City

Friday, July 25, 2014


Push Pin Studios: Seymour Chwast, Cy Nelson- Art Director, Dutton

Sailor Friends

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Whole Nation Builds the Castle

Antoni Chodorowski's cartoon commenting on the popular interest in the reconstruction of the Royal Castle.The banner reads “The Whole Nation Builds the Castle”, a play on a much repeated slogan of the Bierut era, “The Whole Nation builds its Capital”. Poland, 1975.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Political Speech -Redefining Sculpture

Kunsthalle Athena invites Kostis Velonis and Socratis Socratous - participating artists in the exhibition This is Not My Beautiful House- to a discussion about their artistic work.
Both artists, choosing sculpture as their medium, make a critical comment upon contemporary reality and undertake a new approach on art.

Kostis Velonis’ sculptures, most often made of wood, articulate narratives that link personal stories to the revisiting of historical events and material cultural facts, including the stage production of avant-garde theatre and working class history. His intention is to evoke contradictory ideas, using the simple materials of a failed builder.

Socratis Socratous’ work refers to an osmosis of politics and art, even though it often has actual political ramifications. At the same time, it mirrors the limits reached by the artist. His installations are often a composition of a series of photographs and the issues that follow from them, together with the utility of ready-mades, while his sculptures appear to refer to a ‘violated’ sense of reality.

The two artists will analyse their work as well as the course of their artistic production, their influences and points of reference, the way their work relates to politics, history and contemporary sociopolitical circumstances. Furthermore, they will elaborate on how forms and materials converse with each other, composing a potentially new approach on the role and the significance of art today. Through this encounter, they will attempt to share their visions with the public, as well as the other elements which constitute their artistic universe.

Thursday, July 10, 20:00

Political Speeches 2014 are part of
This is Not My Beautiful House exhibition
Anastasia Ax, Apostolos Georgiou, Socratis Socratous and Kostis Velonis
 May 16 – September 11, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Where is the Entrance to the Town

Where is the Entrance to the Town, 2014
Wood, oil, acrylic
54 x 39 x 23 cm 


Memorial sign of concrete and stone, Talnakh, Norilsk, Siberia, 1970. Photo O.Kuzmin.

A Text That Should Never Have Been Written?

Text by Ekaterina Degot

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Το Cascando είναι μουσικός όρος που δηλώνει την επιβράδυνση του ρυθμού και την ταυτόχρονη μείωση της έντασης. Αυτή η ερμηνευτική εξέλιξη συνήθως, προϊδεάζει τον ακροατή για το επερχόμενο τέλος. Στο Cascando, ένα ραδιοφωνικό θεατρικό του Σάμουελ Μπέκετ που γράφτηκε το 1961 ο αφηγητής προσπαθεί να τελειώσει μια ιστορία ή για την ακρίβεια «να βρει την ιστορία που τελειώνει όλες της ιστορίες». Η ολοκλήρωση συνεχώς ματαιώνεται. Το έργο δεν τελειώνει, απλώς σταματά.

Κωστής Βελώνης, Απόστολος Γεωργίου, Γιώργος Γυπαράκης, 
Απόστολος Ντελάκος, Μαρία Παπαδημητρίου, Αλέξανδρος Ψυχούλης 

25 Ιουνίου - 15 Σεπτεμβρίου
CASK gallery, Λάρισα 

What Models Can Do—A Short History of the Architectural Model in Contemporary Art

Charles Simonds, Floating Cities, 2014 (founded 1972). Wood, plastic, plaster, 115 parts, various sizes. © 2014 VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

In the field of architecture and urban planning, the three-dimensional architectural model – on a reduced scale -- continues to function as a tool when communicating planned or realised architecture. The model can efficiently provide information about larger spatial contexts, which are either experienced very differently in their original dimensions or may even be impossible to experience at all. Through its reduction in size, the model also facilitates a reduction in spatial complexity. Suddenly, it is possible to grasp things at a glance that can only be understood in their original size through the time-consuming process of a physical inspection.

It is noticeable that contemporary art frequently adopts the architectural and urban model, removing it from its tightly framed functional context, adapting its phenomenological qualities and giving it a fresh function in the context of artistic questions. In the conceptually dominated art of the last 40 years, the architectural model is opened up poetically and employed in a metaphorical and theatrical fashion. Another important aspect in this context is the mysterious aura of the miniature (Gaston Bachelard), which the eye can penetrate – without the body, so to speak, but without forgetting the physical experience.

On the one hand, reference to the architectural model helps to develop issues concerning the sculpture; on the other hand, the architectural model can serve – precisely because of its interim state between concept and realisation – as an instrument of criticism and utopia. It is this not-only-but-also, this simultaneity of direct sensory presence and yet suggestive distance to the viewer’s sphere of experience, which constitutes the fascination of the model.

The exhibition writes a brief history of the architectural model in contemporary art. It begins with the legendary model by Charles Simonds, covers the 1990s with Ludger Gerdes, Hermann Pitz and Thomas Schütte, and weaves the thread further, up to the present day, with Alicia Framis, Hinrich Sachs and Carlos Garaicoa.

Participating artists: Absalon, Michael Ashkin, Thomas Bayrle, Peter Downsbrough, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Alicia Framis, Carlos Garaicoa, Ludger Gerdes, Christian Haake, Gabu Heindl & Drehli Robnik, Matthew Day Jackson, Friederike Klotz, Langlands & Bell, Rita McBride, Isa Melsheimer, Stephan Mörsch, Sirous Namazi, Hermann Pitz, Hinrich Sachs, Michel Sauer, Thomas Schütte, Laurie Simmons & Peter Wheelwright, Charles Simonds, Stephen Willats, Elizabeth Wright und Yin Xiuzhen.

June 29–October 2014
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Tonight i'm eating stars
and yer not gonna stop me
travelin through bars
with glitter on my stockings
My body parts are shimmerin
as i move through my own galaxy
My high heels kick up moondust
I got Saturn's rings for jewelry
Yeh, i know that times are hard
and you got yer shovel waiting on me
But tonight i'm eating stars
so you can shove yer goddamn gravity
The Sun fell down my pants
and I'm gonna dance till Gabriel blows
Search all night long till i find myself
a couple of celestial bodies
Go on you can dig yer hole
cuz tomorrow you might catch me
But tonight I'm eatin stars
and mother -fucker you can't touch me.

Poem included in the text of Nancy Scheper-Hughes “The genocidal continuum:peace -time crimes”, Power and Self , Cambridge University Press, 2002. Street Poet from Baltimore

Saturday, June 14, 2014


 Untitled (Reserve), 2014. Wood, acrylic, canvas ,46 x 29 cm

Tuiles Bisch

Tuiles Bisch, 1967

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Labor as a Tulip

Labor as a tulip
arrays its flame, nu
form, as the bulb-star,
interred, divines its ore

surging the gulf
rooting it into
appalled memento
pulsing will.

Leaf-blades score the heap.
Other wounds—penetralia—
other worlds, cries, far.
Filaments, simples

emblazoning the rei,
rebus of grief.
Unslumbering terra
premising her kill.
Karen Volkman, 2014

The Brancusi Effect

Constantin Brancusi, Le Coq, 1924-1925, Courtesy Züricher Kunstgesellschaft, Schenkung Carola Giedion-Welcker, 2011, © Silke Otto-Knapp, Courtesy greengrassi, London. Foto: Marcus Leith

The Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) is numbered among the 20th century’s most influential artists. With his considerations of the way that pedestal and presented work relate to each other he launched a reorientation of the relationship between object, viewer and space. This had a decisive influence on minimal art and the aesthetic of the installation as a whole.
Moreover, Brancusi’s work is seen as the initial point of a reflection on the artwork’s historical and institutional positioning. The exhibition The Brancusi Effect takes this potential into account as well as the strongly documentary aspect implicit in Brancusi’s artistic approach, which was expressed in countless photographic images of installations taken in his studio. The exhibition presents original photographic material together with selected positions of contemporary art that reference Brancusi, and so creates an imposing spatial installation comprising various sculptures that reflect the recent currency of the sculptural within contemporary art.
Photographs of Brancusi in his studio in the Impasse Rosin in Paris, showcase how he used installative arrangements to present his works as a spatially unified work of art. Brancusi moreover also personally photographed individual works, in order to translate the special aura of his sculptures into the medium of photography. The loan from the Kunsthaus Zurich provides a fascinating insight into the thinking and the production methods of this artist, who, between tradition and modernity, created a work of singularity within the European avant-garde.
Further insight into the work of Brancusi can be drawn from the work Les 58 numéros flotents, an unwilling collaborative work between Brancusi, the Japanese photographer Soichi Sunami and the Italian publisher Giovanni Scheiwiller, directed both formally and conceptually by Marcel Duchamp’s invisible hand. The five photographs conclude the operation started by Duchamp on Brancusi’s work which began with the installation at Brummer Gallery in 1933 and which completely overturned the reading of the work and paved the way for its future, American perception. Alessio delli Castelli’s work on these objects, oscillating between documents and works of art, is presented in the catalogue alongside Paola Mola’s original studies on the subject.
The contemporary positions in the exhibition are characterised by an enormous heterogeneity, but share an interest in the relationship between work and pedestal, work and space and the modular principle, exemplified in one of Brancusi’s most famous works Endless Column. The combination of different materials, the coexistence of different volumes and the dissolution of the idea of a supporting pedestal in favour of an integral sculptural component, also characterise the selected works by international artists.
An Te Liu transforms Styrofoam parts from transport packaging of hi-fi equipment or household appliances into elegant modular bronze sculptures. In Ok Ok Ok Ok Ok, Sofia Hultén, spans a floor-to-ceiling filigree column out of old car jacks. The works by Koenraad Dedobbeleer muddle up the perception of the relationship between objects and their appearance; the works appear both as sculpture and as pedestal of a sculpture. Ute Müller in turn combines found materials with organically shaped sculptures into dense sculptural arrangements.
The exciting interior and exterior insights arising out of this coexistence of different sculptural positions, in the glass pavilion of Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, in essence once more serve to emphasize the currency of Brancusi.
Artists: Saâdane Afif, Wilfrid Almendra, Nina Beier, Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Constantin Brancusi, André Cadere, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Alessio delli Castelli, Thea Djordjadze, Paulien Föllings, Isa Genzken, Konstantin Grcic, Jürgen Mayer H., Sofia Hultén, Haraldur Jónsson, An Te Liu, Josephine Meckseper, Ute Müller, Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Shahryar Nashat, Olaf Nicolai, Odilon Pain, Luiz Roque, Rudi Stanzel.
Curators: Vanessa Joan Müller, Nicolaus Schafhausen

Sunday, June 1, 2014

“Bobby, Ζαμβέζης, Darling, Τσάρ, Liggie, Kittie and Fanny”

Artists: Dirk Bell, Sarah Crowner, Rallou Panagiotou, Charlotte Posenenske, Georgia Sagri, Kostis Velonis and special guest. A Summer Show: “Bobby, Ζαμβέζης, Darling, Τσάρ, Liggie, Kittie and Fanny”Andreas Melas & Helena Papadopoulos Gallery

"This is Not My Beautiful House" shots

Rural Management, 2014 
Tribune Leading to the Ramp and Ramp Leading to the Tribune, 2014 
How One Can Think Freely in the Shadow of a Temple, 2008
Photo by Stathis Mamalakis

Proto Doric Column

Proto Doric Column, at the entrance to a tomb, Beni Hasan, Egypt, The Bridgeman Art Library

Publisher Places a Politically Correct Warning Label on Kant’s Critiques

Most times when I hear someone on a tear about the dangers of “political correctness” I roll  my eyes and move on. So many such complaints involve ire at being held to standards of basic human decency, say, or having to share resources, opportunities, or public spaces. But there are many exceptions, when the so-called “PC” impulse to broaden inclusivity and soften offense produces monsters of condescending paternalism. Take the above omnibus edition of “Kant’s Critiques” printed by Wilder Publications in 2008. The publisher, with either kind but painfully obtuse motives, or with an eye toward pre-empting some kind of legal blowback, has seen fit to include a disclaimer at the bottom of the title page:
This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.
Where to begin? First, we must point out Wilder Publications’ strange certainty that a hypothetical Kant of today would express his ideas in tolerant and liberal language. The supposition has the effect of patronizing the dead philosopher and of absolving him of any responsibility for his blind spots and prejudices, assuming that he meant well but was simply a blinkered and unfortunate “product” of his time. But who’s to say that Kant didn’t damn well mean his comments that offend our sensibilities today, and wouldn’t still mean them now were he somehow resurrected and forced to update his major works? Moreover, why assume that all current readers of Kant do not share his more repugnant views? Secondly, who is this editionfor? Philosopher Brian Leiter, who brought this to our attention, humorously titles it “Kant’s 3 Critiques—rated PG-13.” One would hope that any young person precocious enough to read Kant would have the ability to recognize historical context and to approach critically statements that sound unethical, bigoted, or scientifically dated to her modern ears. One would hope parents buying Kant for their kids could do the same without chiding from publishers.
None of this is to say that there aren’t substantive reasons to examine and critique the prejudicial assumptions and biases of classical philosophers. A great many recent scholars have done exactly that. In her Philosophy of Science and Race, for example, Naomi Zack observes that “according to contemporary standards, both [Hume and Kant] were virulent white supremacists.” Yet she also analyzes the problems with applying “contemporary standards” to their systems of thought, which were not necessarily racist in the sense we mean so much as “racialist,” dependent on an “ontology of human races, which underlay Hume and Kant’s value judgments about what they thought were racial differences” (an ontology, it’s worth noting, that produced systemic and institutional racism). Zack respects the vast gulf that separates our judgments from those of the past while still holding the philosophers accountable for contradictions and inconsistencies in their thought that are clearly the products of willful ignorance, chauvinism, and unexamined bias. An informed historical approach allows us to see how books are not simply “products of their time” but are situated in networks of knowledge and ideology that shaped their authors’ assumptions and continue to shape our own—ideologies that persist into the present and cannot and should not be papered over or easily explained away with skittish warning labels and didactic lectures about how much things have changed. In a great many ways of course, they have. And in some significant others, they simply haven’t. To pretend otherwise for the sake of the children is disingenuous and does a grave disservice to both author and reader.
Text by Josh Jones

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The world turn'd upside down

The world turn'd upside down: or, A briefe description of the ridiculous fashions of these distracted times
 by T. J., Taylor, John , Jordan, Thomas, 
London:  Printed for John Smith, Jan 28 1646.

Fever of the Antique

Pleasure of Curve (Statistics), 2013, ceramic, plaster, wood, 100x15x14cm

The exhibition Fever of the antique enlightens the aesthetics of fragmentation through the influence that the practice of excavation exercised on the configuration of modernity's logic of representation and identity. In addition, it enquires the meaning, which has been attributed to the recovery of the extracts of the past in the contemporary Greek condition and the ideology of the collective self-determination.
The systematic excavations implemented under the shadow of the ideas of neoclassicism and romanticism by the archaeological schools of the emerging European nation states, brought to light numerous, yet unseen, fragments of earlier cultures. The condition of the findings, despite the deterioration and the elliptical quality of the figures, was idealized and influenced the Western perceptibility. It configured, not only a visual model but also an ideological, ethical and aesthetical legacy. What until then had only been slightly discernible, was eventually embedded in the Western Canon of modernity: the aesthetics of the fragment, the poetics of elliptical narration, concealment, repulsion and hint; and in dialectical contradiction, the logic of the archive (as a substitution for the incoherently structured –early colonial– cabinet of curiosities), the need for recalling, narrating and putting in order an already existing material, the retrospective attribution of meaning.

Fever of the antique associates the poetics of fragmentation with the sense of detachment experienced by modern subjects; the dematerialisation of the present and the urge to constantly interpret the elusive past, constitute the subject of exploration by the artistic practices, which are woven together in the curatorial project. The exhibition, above all, seeks to remind the need for tracing the path towards the principle of reality and encourages an embedded perspective as a prop, which will provide the foundation for the lessening of the local identity’s precarious correlations. Finally, Fever of the antique addresses a positioning beyond antiquity’s continuous recurrence (i.e. out of the power of the precedent), testing the symmetries between the present and the past.

Curated by Evangelia Ledaki
Artists: Paki Vlassopoulou, Kostis Velonis, Efthimis Theou/Electra Angelopoulou/Anthi Efstratiadou, Lizi Kalliga, Alexandros Laios, Kostas Bassanos, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Nina Papaconstantinou, Dimitris Foutris, Kostas Christopoulos
FEVER OF THE ANTIQUE Association of Greek Archaeologists

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sadness, be gone!

As mathematicians meet in New York to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Dürer's print Melencolia, Karl Galle asks whether it is a depiction of despairing genius or of scholarly optimism 

This is Not My Beautiful House

Anastasia Ax 
Apostolos Georgiou 
Socratis Socratous 

Borrowing its title from the lyrics of the famous song by Talking Heads, the exhibition This is Not My Beautiful House will bring together four artists: Anastasia Ax, Apostolos Georgiou, Socratis Socratous and Kostis Velonis, who are engaged, directly or indirectly, with the present ‘Greek’ – not to say global – condition.
The everyday here in Greece seems like a leaky vessel. And while the water level is dropping, ideas on how to survive in the post-capitalism desert do not come easily. The scenario is pretty ruthless, yet life seems to go on, seeking its best outcome, under the warm sun.
As we are experiencing this period of change, where everything is in flux, the space loses its shape and transforms into nothingness. Athens reveals itself as a utopian place: a space for the impossible and for ‘everything that is possible’. Amidst all these we find ourselves in limbo. Unaccustomed to the speed of change as well as to the density of events that occur in multiple layers all at once we become alien to all our own given assumptions.
In terms of the best of the worse, the daily routine is not the daily routine we knew anymore; the city is not the city we knew anymore; the politics are not the politics we can recognise anymore; our belongings do not belong to us anymore; and the public space does not belong to us either, although private space is negotiable, if there still is one. We are an entity in transfer, a country on sale, in which nothing is familiar anymore. We are living through a rapture.  
This is Not My Beautiful House as a title has no direct references to 80s pop music or New York culture. In the absence of any other significant manifestos, it serves as the perfect tag to describe a world that is unfolding between fears and desires stigmatised by the current economic and social moment. As a line from a pop song, this quote has surely been interpreted and felt in many different ways by many different people. In the case of this exhibition, it becomes a parable for the contemporary state of social and existential alienation. This is Not My Beautiful House refers here to contradictory notions and desires like going or staying, living or dying, trying or surrendering, hoping or giving up; a topography in which the only certainty is that things cannot go on anymore as they were.
Kunsthalle Athena chooses to focus this year once more on Greek artists. With the exception of Anastasia Ax, who is an artist with duel houses and duel exiles, and vividly experiences the Greek situation via family and relatives, the other artists insist on living in Athens, despite the difficult situation and the fact that their international careers might have provided them with a way to leave.
Participants : Anastasia Ax, Apostolos Georgiou, Socratis Socratous and Kostis Velonis
Kunsthalle Athena
May 16 - September 11, 2014

Let This Earth Day Be The Last | The Nation

Let This Earth Day Be The Last | The Nation

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Michel Serres: Latour Educates a Naive Michel Serres

Michel Serres: Latour Educates a Naive Michel Serres: This essay titled The Englightenment Without the Critique: A Word on Michel Serres' Philosophy showed a while back as a Google Alert. …


Pre-Text is the first part of the large scale exhibition This Is A Historic Opportunity For Us (title taken from Antonis Pittas’ work). The idea of this exhibition came up as an internal need and an immediate response to the socio-political crisis that Greece has been through since 2009 as it is one of the first European countries to confront the aftermath of the global crisis. This Is A Historic Opportunity For Us is a project that has been designed since 2012 aiming to find the appropriate venue to host the exhibition in a European metropolitan city.

Pre-Text refers to socio-political conditions with connections to political history and our perception regarding historical knowledge. Through the works, the viewer “reads” a concrete political meaning that depends upon the dialectic of individuality and collectivity at play within a social system. They conjure up a universe of individual worlds that invoke contemporary awareness and use it as a prism through which to look upon how we experience reality. The artists explore areas where there are no rigid distinctions between theory and practice; where the boundaries between the two seem to blur.

Pre-Text questions the ways in which the past is conceptually and contextually reoriented towards the future. As a great number of contemporary philosophers argue “prior” is the new “after” and the notion of time transforms accordingly to continuous changes of social conditions. The viewer faces an up-to-date historical record of art that confronts the future as the present, art that talks about the future with works, created the last five years and function as knowledge tools to understand the present by reflecting it to the future.
The works suggest different readings and interpretations that aim to provoke the viewer’s perception regarding global sociological issues that affects one’s perception and individual participation to a collective “status quo”.

Curated by Ileana Tounta, Dimitrios Antonitsis and Katerina Nikou
Participating artists :Dimitris Andreadis, Kostas Bassanos, Kostas Christopoulos, Panos Famelis, Dimitris Foutris, Pavlos Fysakis, Christina Koutsospyrou & Aran Hughes, Irini Miga, Fryni Mouzakitou, Alexandros Papathanasiou, Theo Prodromidis, Kostas Sahpazis, Eva Stefani, Dimitris Tsoumplekas, Kostis Velonis
8 May 2014- 21 June 2014.

The Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tribune Leading to the Ramp and Ramp Leading to the Tribune

Tribune Leading to the Ramp and Ramp Leading to the Tribune, 2014.Wood,acrylic,poster
207x58x 53cm

From the catalogue “Nasze Pory Roku ; Na dolnoslaskiej ziemi” ( the Four Seasons) by Michal Sewerski. Zaklad Narodowy IM. Ossolinskich Wydawnictwo, 1970. (photo:T. Drankowski)


Concrete: a solid state, a construction material, something known or true.
Igor Grubić, Monument 2014, video still
 Concrete brings together the work of sixteen artists, both Australian and international. The exhibition explores the concrete, or the solid and its counter: change, the flow of time. As we prepare to mark the centenary of the First World War, the exhibition considers the impact of time upon built and monumental form, reading between materiality and emotion, form and memory.
Monuments reflect a desire for commemoration, truth, honour and justice. Equally, they may function to consolidate political power and national identity. Works in the exhibition locate the monumental in relation to longer cycles of construction, displacement and erasure; archaeology, geology and paleontology; the shifting politics of memory and ways to describe a history of place.

Curator: Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow
 Artists: Laurence Aberhart (NZ), Jananne al-Ani (IRQ/UK), Kader Attia (DEU/DZA), Saskia Doherty (AUS), Fabien Giraud & Raphael Siboni (FRA), Igor Grubic (SRB), Carlos Irijalba (ESP), Nicholas Mangan (AUS), Rä di Martino (ITY), Ricky Maynard (AUS), Callum Morton (AUS), Tom Nicholson (AUS), Jamie North (AUS), Justin Trendall (AUS) and James Tylor (AUS).
 MUMA, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne

3 May - 5 July 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tables for two

Sometimes we eat at a broad, thick farmhouse table,
with drawers above our laps
where cold, bone-handled knives lie waiting.
Sometimes we eat at a bird-legged, bistro table,
knowing one slip
could send everything crashing.
Sometimes at my parents' chipped formica table
which once seemed so vast
my brother and I'd play ping-pong on it.
Sometimes at an antique rosewood one
which has this central piece
that opens out of nowhere like it's flowering.
Richard Meier, 2011

New Habits

Andrea Büttner, Vogelpredigt, 2010, woodcut

Together with participating artists, architects, and a choreographer, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Andrea Büttner, Jesko Fezer and Andreas Müller with Maximilian Weydringer, Andrea Fraser, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Tehching Hsieh, Ienke Kastelein, Sung Hwan Kim, Annette Krauss, Aimée Zito Lema, Wietske Maas, Christian Nyampeta, Yvonne Rainer, and a number of “commoners” within and outside of Utrecht, Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory is delighted to introduce 'New Habits', the inaugural exhibition at Casco’s new space.  

While 'New Habits' apparently refers to the institution’s new habitat, new rhythm, and new modes of working, this project exhibition also functions as a thought experiment with a broader agenda, asking: Would practicing according to common habits enable an autonomous community, and if so, what would be the habits of a commoning community? 

A habit is an everyday expression of unintentionally obtained and individually embodied knowledge. The term "habit" is often loaded with negative connotations; habits are to be broken or unlearned. New Habits proposes that we rethink the notion of the habit as a form of life central to community formation, in negotiation with the governing rules and laws. 'New Habits' looks for shared, communal habits or forms of life marked by a non-capitalist ethos of commoning, as a necessary counterpoint to direct action and representative politics. 

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s recent analysis of Franciscan practices in calling for a new politics provided a major theoretical impetus for New Habits. Under the guiding virtue of “highest poverty” from their formation in the thirteenth century the Franciscans lived a form of common life that incorporated but defied established rules and norms of the Church.  

'New Habits' is an aesthetic project as much as a project of ethics and new politics. It attempts to merge art and life once more, but rather than trying to “abandon the art world” (as in the 1960s), the focus is now on articulating and practicing forms (of life) within and against the institution.  

'New Habits' is curated by director Binna Choi, with the contribution of curators Jason Waite and Sanne Oorthuizen. Needless to say its materialization would have been impossible without the rest of the team: Janine Armin, Ester Bartels, Marleen de Kok, Yolande van der Heide, Ying Que, and Suzanne Tiemersma, and the additional support of interns Debby Sielert, Malcolm Kratz, and Sofie Wierda. The graphic design for the exhibition is by David Bennewith with Virginie Gauthier. 
Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory
01 May – 13 Jul 2014

Arte para se mujer, De "Metys" a "Phynance"

Ulises y su Metis 

Una de las cuestiones fascinantes de la Odisea de Homero, es que trata de un rey que a pesar de serlo tiene que luchar continuamente por su supervivencia venciendo peligros extremos utilizando su ingenio. Desde el comienzo de su largo viaje, Ulises activa un modelo de masculinidad diferente del que podríamos haber esperado, el aquíleo, restringido al campo de la lucha. Aquiles, un semidiós, el mayor guerrero de la Ilíada de Homero y compañero de batalla de Ulises en la guerra de Troya, pierde su vida al servicio de la nación. La idea de heroísmo es definida a lo largo de las batallas, y Aquiles encarna su ideal. A pesar de todo es Hércules el mayor héroe griego, primitivo y violento, quien expresa mejor el concepto arcaico de las cualidades del hombre tal y como fue construido durante en tiempos de Homero. Ulises es recordado no como un campeón fuerte musculoso, sino como un hombre legendario cuya curiosidad se expresa geográficamente en un largo viaje similar al de un judío errante. Aunque condenado a vagar finalmente consigue volver a Ítaca, su hogar, con más memorias y experiencias que ninguna otra persona en el mundo del la antigüedad. Ulises, mañoso y con ingenio lo consigue todo gracias a Metis (la inteligencia avispada, la astucia).

La palabra griega “metis” se refiere a una doble cualidad que aúna astucia y sabiduría.
   En la mitología, Metis fue el primer amor y la primera esposa de Zeus, a quien solía servir de consejera. Cuando anunció a este último que le iba a dar primero una hija, y luego un hijo a quien correspondería el gobierno del mundo, Zeus, temeroso de que la profecía se cumpliese, la devoró. Su hija, Atenea, nacería más tarde de la cabeza de Zeus. Es este hecho de que fuese el propio Zeus quien dio a luz a Atenea, la razón de que la mayoría de los escritores de la Antigüedad representen a Atenea como una diosa sin madre, olvidando citar a Metis. También es la causa de que en la simbología de los nombres los poemas homéricos den a Zeus el título de “Metieta”, o “Zeus consejero”.

Rey Ubu y Duchamp
No hay duda de que Ulises es un héroe astuto, pero ahora quisiera conectar su sabiduría con la de otras dos figuras bien conocidas de la modernidad. Quiero tratar de conectar a Ulises con Padre Ubú, el protagonista de las obras de teatro de Alfred Jarry, y con otro superhéroe de la modernidad, Marcel Duchamp.
¿Por qué esta inhabitual vinculación?

 El Padre Ubu, caricatura infantil de profesor de física de Alfred Jarry, es una personalidad teatral inventada. La creación de un escritor simbolista provocador que tuvo al menos un ilustre epígono. Me refiero a Marcel Duchamp, tal vez el artista más cínico de la generación siguiente y de las que vinieron después. Mejor que comparar a escritor y artista, es comparar a la creación de Jarry, el “Rey Ubú”, con Marcel Duchamp. Fue este último quien dijo él mismo “Rabelais y Jarry son mis dioses, evidentemente”. La lista de referencias a Jarry en la obra de Duchamp es larga. Normalmente, el paralelismo de su obra y la de Jarry se establece a partir de su mutua obsesión con los descubrimientos científicos, desde la electricidad a la geometría no euclidiana o la cuarta dimensión.  El el personaje de Jarry, Ubu Roi (Ubú Rey) es el que mejor ofrece un espejo del estilo de vida de Duchamp, el mayor “enfant terrible” de los tiempos modernos. Ambos tienen una marcada tendencia al sarcasmo. Andrew Hugill, académico en estudios patafísicos escribe: “Hay en él, como en el humor patafísico, algo brutal y elegante”.
Un ejemplo que permite captar esta simultánea expresión de brutalidad y elegancia en el humor anti-utópico de Duchamp es el siguiente aforismo de su publicación “Green Box” (1934). “Establecer una sociedad en la que el individuo tiene que pagar por el aire que respira”. “En caso de impago proceder, caso de ser necesario, simplemente a asfixiarlo (corte suministro de aire)”. Lo que es seguro es que Monsieur Ubú está familiarizado con este tipo de bromas. El humor, cuando no el sarcasmo, es un método oficial de hacer comprender a alguien la estructura de las políticas económicas contemporáneas.
Probablemente la vida aventurera de Ulises podría servir como modelo del actual sistema económico, pero ¿ofrece algún tipo de ética financiera? ¿Y sus epígonos en el mundo de la literatura y de la práctica artística?
Las notas introductorias de Ubú Rey nos informan de que el carácter de Ubu “nació como una burla de un profesor muy detestado, el pobre Monsieur Herbert”. M. Hubert era en realidad un profesor gordo e incapaz en el liceo de Rennes, que más tarde se convirtió en un político reaccionario local. Tal y como quiso su inventor, Ubú se convirtió en la encarnación de todas las características despreciables: es pomposo, vano, cruel, estúpido, homicida, cobarde, avaricioso y autoritario. También Ulises, el hombre de los mil recursos, es homicida y cruel, destructor de las aguas de ciudades, y artífice de la caída de Troya como Ubú lo es de la muerte del rey de Polonia y la mayor parte de la familia real en Varsovia.
 El Rey Ubú no sólo es un guerrero cruel, sino que además trata de combinar la invasión militar con su nueva idea de las “phinanzas”, con “ph” en lugar de con “f”, una escuela financiera en la historia de la economía.

Qué significa Phynanza?
Entre otros neologismos, la sátira política de Jarry introduce el término Phynanza, que combina el griego “physis” (naturaleza) y el latín “finanza” (economía). Las palabras “phinanza” y “phinanciero” están inspiradas por el aire pomposo de su profesor de física, Monsieur Hébert. Como ya se ha dicho, Hébert se convirtió en el modelo inicial para la figura cómica del Padre Ubú, y la obra de teatro de Jarry condena la manipulación del poder presentando a Ubú como un coronel que usurpa el trono del rey de Polonia. Convirtiéndose en rey, el Padre Ubú “personifica para el escritor toda la fealdad del mundo”.
El crítico belga Thierry du Duve ha planteado con éxito la cuestión del artista como financiero interpretando a Marcel Duchamp como el “listo financiero que posee el secreto del valor de cambio artístico”.
Así pues, al responder a la cuestión de qué es “phinanza” con “ph” y de identificar las característias del “phinanciero” tanto de Jarry como de Duchamp, podríamos simplemente identificarlo con la codicia económica que refleja la influencia de la globalización de la actividad corporativa.

 Las delicadas maneras de Duchamp hacen que no parezca un codicioso cerdo capitalista, pero el artista, famoso por la flexibilidad de todos los aspectos de su vida, proporciona al menos una respuesta positiva a la siguiente cuestión que tiene que ver con la economía: “¿Puede uno hacer obras que no sean obras de arte?”. En la obra de teatro de Jarry, el Padre Ubú se llama a si mismo “maestro de la phinanza”.
La misma pregunta se plantea respecto a Ulises: “¿Puede alguien convertirse en héroe evitando el modelo de Hércules y Aquiles, encontrando soluciones ingeniosas a problemas que normalmente requieren acciones heroicas?”.
¿Puede alguien hacerse rico sin trabajar? Esta sería al menos la pregunta común a las tres figuras legendarias: al Ulises de Homero, a la marioneta de Alfred Jarry, el Padre Ubú, y a la “persona phinanciera” de Marcel Duchamp.

Duchamp se da cuenta del arco de la especulación en su propia práctica. Bajo el nombre de R. Mutt compra un orinal de porcelana que presenta, bajo el título de “Fuente” a la sociedad de artistas independientes, de la que él mismo era presidente y accionista. Duchamp solía tener más de una personalidad jugando así en todos los campos posibles. Al igual que “Ulises”, su “metis” le lleva a adoptar diferentes modos de aproximarse a un problema para resolverlo. Puesto que uno de los problemas principales en la vida humana es el financiero, Duchamp optó por la opción existencial de negar que existe problema alguno, haciendo su famosa afirmación “no hay solución porque no hay problema”.
Como pintor había recibido reconocimiento por su “Desnudo bajando la escalera”. Pero Duchamp como artista bajo el seudónimo R. Mutt no hizo la fuente. Negándose a volverse un artesano, la compró al manufacturero J.L.Mott, que se la vendió a R. Mutt. Duchamp, en calidad de Mutt, entregó un depósito prometiendo pagar el resto pronto pues contaba con vender el objeto con margen de beneficio. Duchamp introdujo nuevas prácticas en la política comercial del mercado del arte.
Según el diccionario, especulación es el acto de entrar en transacciones de negocios que entrañan riesgo considerable pero ofrecen la posibilidad de grandes beneficios, con la esperanza de beneficiarse de las fluctuaciones del mercado. El Rey Ubú es un héroe codicioso que gana especulando el dinero que a Jarry le gustaría ganar en la práctica, y que en la vida real Duchamp consigue sin grandes dificultades.
 “Arrhes” en francés, o “contrato de arras” en español, es un contrato privado, donde las partes pactan la reserva de la compraventa de bienes o inmuebles como una vivienda, entregándose como prueba una cantidad de dinero en concepto de senal. Forma parte de los denominados precontratos, dado que lo que se está contratando es la obligación de firmar un contrato (el de compraventa) en el futuro.
En francés “arrhes” existe sólo en plural. ¿Por qué Duchamp escribe arrhe en singular? Si “arrhe” es a “art” lo que “shite” a “shit”, entonces significa el singular avance del pago singular. Arrhe sin “s” suena igual que “art”. Depósito, suena en francés igual que arte. Pero depósito en francés se dice en plural, refiriéndose el pago singular de “arrhe” sin “s” sólo a un tipo de arte. Al arte femenino que es “la” pintura y no al resto de las artes, que tienen una definición de género. Thierry de Duve sostiene que en tanto que palabra con género, el arte como pintura se refiere sólo a la mitad de la humanidad y se muestra femenino. Duchamp pinta a la virgen y a la novia en el “Pasaje de la Virgen a novia” (1912) pero para la exposición decide no pintar sino exponer un “objet trouvé”. Con un orinal al que denomina “fuente” mantiene la identificación femenina con el sujeto a través del género femenino del objeto. Al fin y al cabo es el lugar en donde los hombres exhiben sus genitales y mean.

¿Dónde encontrar el deseo de “phinanza” en los viajes de Ulises?

¿Es posible trasplantar el término finanza de la codicia de un profesor de física al rediseño de la economía de la naturaleza, tal y como la misma etimología del término sugiere? Trabajos recientes realizados en Grecia sobre el humor absurdo y las cualidades anárquicas de las cualidades de los escritos de Jarry parecen hacer uso de los principios de una “phinanza” reinventada que contiene restos de las nociones de esfuerzo físico y de autarquía. No más tácticas geofinancieras de Ulises exploradas a través de los océanos, de la bárbara pasión del dinero por el Rey Ubú o incluso de la cínica práctica de Duchamp de ganar dinero sin dolor físico

 Martha Dimitropoulou, "Ναρκισσος", 2013.

Artistas griegas de los últimos años como Martha Dimitropoulou, Dora Economou, Vasso Gavaisse, Evangelia Spiliopoulou, o Maro Fasouli podrían ser caracterizadas a partir de su aproximación herética contraria al ideal masculino de formas geométricas y minimalismo. 

 Dora Economou, "Round Idea", 2014

Se las puede reevaluar a través de sus “modos phinancieros” de expresión dentro de un vocabulario abstracto o estructurado en el que la tradición conceptual se enfrenta al fin de la 
vieja dicotomía patriarcal entre naturaleza y sociedad.
Vasso Gavaisse, Azurro, 2011

Esta es una breve referencia visual de su trabajo. No voy a insistir en hacer 
una presentación detallada de sus obras. Apenas unas fotos para dar una idea del modo en que estas artistas se apropian del viejo campo de la “phinanza” política y cómo construyen nuevas experiencias.Su trabajo, a menudo frágil y compuesto de materiales humildes, parece contener una conexión implícita con las antiguas raíces de la economía, la política de una economía doméstica que puede ser retrotraída al término griego “oikónomos” (es decir, el que gobierna un hogar), que deriva del término “oíkos” (casa) y “némo” (manejar, distribuir).

Evangelia Spiliopoulou, "In Charge of the Celestial Gods", 2013

Reformulando esta cuestión como la del artista como financiero ( en el sentido etimológico), podemos explorar las críticas relaciones entre la economía del hogar y la geontología, así como interrogarnos a propósito de la “phísica” de los materiales del artista. El arte contemporáneo, y en especial el reciente interés por las posibilidades del objeto no glamuroso nos llevan a plantearnos nuevos interrogantes sobre la práctica estética. Primera entre tales preguntas está la del papel de tal objeto en el “ecoteatro”, pero esta vez sin la codicia del Padre Ubú y sin las tácticas especulativas de Marcel Duchamp.

Maro Fasouli, Untitled, 2012

Así es como la práctica del arte se puede volver femenina, no por causa de la voluntad del artista masculino de dedicarse a la femenina “pintura” y otras fantasías masculinas, sino porque la práctica artística puede ser analizada como cultura. El arte es el proceso de una variedad de modos de cultivar que pueden ser percibidos como como fragmentos de ambientes geofísicos. Un nuevo culto de la domesticidad podría ser redefinido en torno al hogar sin la extendida tristeza de las mujeres propia del matrimonio y el ser esposa, descrito como el “problema sin nombre” en “La mística de la feminidad” de Betty Friedan, publicada a comienzos de los 60.
 Para ser femenino el arte requiere una cierta geografía, desarrollando el discurso de un punto de vista geontológico. Es el momento en que Penélope toma su venganza.

Kostis Velonis, Talk at the Funcion Lenguaje, Madrid

Translated from English to Spanish by Hector Nuñez Amor.